Such a Tease | Book Review, Tour, and Giveaway

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My Review
I am glad that I got to read book one before this one (you may see my review of it here), as I think it would have made a confusing stand-alone. As part of a series, though, it tied in well and just continued the story that was begun in book one.

34387959It wasn’t a particular favorite of mine and I think I discovered why: I was reading it expecting a mystery book, but the mystery was a little too padded in everyday life and social happenings for my tastes. At times, I felt like the mystery was perhaps too cryptic. I enjoyed it more after the halfway point, as that was when it felt the mystery activity truly appeared (and I realized that’s kind of how I felt for book one as well).

At the same time, someone who just enjoys a laid-back tale following the various lives of characters would greatly enjoy this book. I think it’s the type of book I would enjoy on a rainy day, having no pressure of a deadline by which to read it.

I do really like Madeline. I am a little puzzled with her Christian life because she has so many things mixed up, but she is closer to having them in order in this book than the first. I guess her spiritual walk isn’t super prominent, even though it’s there. That is one reason I’d like to continue the series: to see what the author does with her.

I did find that Russel seemed to change personalities. I liked him a little better in book one…but then, that too fit his own journey as he was swamped with work in book two.

All in all, Havig’s style is unique and a voice I’m not sure I’ve read elsewhere. I’ve enjoyed finally reading a couple of her books.

I did find this one quote amazingly amusing:

“Oh, dear me. I’ve become quite the matchmaking romantic. I believe a healthy dose of murder and intrigue will be necessary to set me to rights.”

*I received this book from the author and happily gave my review in return*

About the Book
Book: Such a Tease
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Madeline, with a little assistance, discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! Can she expose him for the fraud she’s sure he is?

In book two of the Meddlin’ Madeline series, Madeline Brown has a new endeavor to occupy her time. But is it to keep her out of the way or a reward for her work in Sweet on You? With the help of her young friends, Madeline discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! What’s a girl to do?

However, her new position also gives her opportunities to observe, and what she sees sets more than one new investigation in motion. What does her old suitor, Delbert Jackson, know? Why is Mr. Merton giving important papers to that scoundrel, Vernon Smythe, and whatever happened to poor Abigail Cooper?

Add to these intriguing questions Henry Hardwick’s continued attentions, Edith’s newfound devotion to the temperance movement and Madeline’s determination to find her a more reliable suitor, and strange behavior from her Aunt Louisa and things heat up as summer fades from Rockland.

Unfortunately, her dear friend, Russell, busy with an important project at work, finds himself unable to help keep her out of trouble and away from danger. Is Madeline going too far? Will her meddling get her in serious trouble this time, will it destroy her reputation irreparably, or will she rid Rockland of a scoundrel once and for all? 

Click here to purchase your copy.


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a Reader’s Teaser Package

that includes:

A paperback copy of both Sweet on You and Such a Tease

A “Tea-for-One” teapot

A Tin of loose-leaf tea of your choice (six options available from our local tearoom)

A pound of assorted See’s chocolates

A set of six handmade antique-inspired note cards

A $25 Amazon Gift Card

And, for the teaser… the winner will also receive the exclusive short story (usually reserved for pre-orders) The Fate of Abigail Cooper!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

About the Author

media-headshot-smAuthor of the Amazon bestselling Aggie, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona considers herself blessed to live in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. When not writing, which she admits isn’t often, Chautona enjoys blogging, paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old (read: before her parents’ time) music.

Blog Stops

March 23: A Greater Yes
March 24: Carpe Diem
March 26: Back Porch Reads
March 27: Splashesofjoy
March 29: Lots of Helpers
March 29: The Scribbler
March 30: Bigreadersite
April 1: Pause for Tales

First Line Fridays | 3.31.2017

I’m veering from favorite authors today and just doing a favorite book. I’ve read a few of Tracie Peterson’s books, but I didn’t like most of them near as much as this one.

Far-off screams filled the air and rattled six-year-old Jimmy Colton’s bones.
(from Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse)

You’ve got to like at least a little suspense to enjoy this novel. Just saying. My review is here for those interest.

Grab a book near you and share a first line!
Do you like suspenseful books?

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Rachel – Bookworm Mama
Lauraine – Lauraine’s Notes
Andi – Radiant Light
Robin – Robin’s Nest
Kathleen – Kathleen Denly

Joshua Fit de Battle | Music Video

I’m excited about this week’s music video, for a few reasons…

First… it’s a piano trio! How fun is that?! I’m going to try to get some of my students to play it for recital this year.
Second… I really didn’t think I’d have time or energy to do a recording this week. But once again, God has been good and supplied my need.
Third… it’s Joshua Fit de Battle! ‘Nuff said.

So, enjoy. 🙂

Info on the sheet music here.

Scripture Graphics #32

One of the passages I will never lack the need of reading.

In thinking about the relationships surrounding us, in what ways have we yielded to the sins in verse 31? Contrariness, how do we need to repent of those sins and work to apply obedience to verse 32?

Are we actively trying to follow God? Or do we just hope that our life will somehow be like Him without putting any effort there? If we’re hardly thinking about following God, are we satisfied there? Or are we making changes so that we can better follow God?
“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?” Genesis 50:19
Joseph refused to condemn his brothers or use his position of leadership to make his brothers “pay.” He didn’t have an exalted view of himself, but understood his place under God.
So what about when we refuse to forgive, or desire harsh condemnation on someone else? Is this, in a way, wishing we were in the place of God instead of turning over all righteous judgment to Him?

Something that is grown must be cultivated, if it is to be healthy. Taking that idea to spiritual growth, how are we cultivating grace in our lives? Are we cultivating our knowledge of Jesus Christ? And finally, for what goal? So we can check off the list that we are “better Christians”–or so that God is glorified?
What verses have stood out to you in your Bible reading this week?

First Line Fridays | 3.24.2017

Let innocence be your mask.
(from Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White)
I have never, ever read such an amusing character such as Winter in Ring of Secrets. She wears her mask beautifully — and in such a way that makes me laugh out loud. But that’s all I’m gonna say. 😉 You may read my review here.

What’s your first line this week?

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Rachel – Bookworm Mama
Lauraine – Lauraine’s Notes
Andi – Radiant Light
Robin – Robin’s Nest
Kathleen – Kathleen Denly

Learning Your Writing Style

Today is the first Indie e-Con day! I’m super excited to be a part of this e-Con. Today, our subject is… “Writing.” There are a lot of authors sharing from their experience. You may check out the list of authors here.

“Learning Your Writing Style”

“The best way to learn writing is TO write.”

Agree? Disagree?
What about somewhere in the middle? A quote by C.S. Lakin kind of sums up my thoughts: “Hands-on experience coupled with diligent ‘book’ learning make for a sound education. And so too writers, to construct solid, lasting novels, need both ‘hands-on’ experience and ‘book’ learning.” (from 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction)
I have learned a lot about writing through reading various books on the craft (and there are some great ones out there)! But more needful than that, by writing, I have been learning MY personal method of writing. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no book out there that will help you know that. Guess what you have to do to figure it out? (*points back to the opening quote*)
From what I’ve read, most authors agree to three main writing styles are: pantser, plotter, and those in-between. But if you read a dozen books on the writing craft, these three main styles are broken down into dozens of different applications and approaches—based on the author’s personal method. Usually, all of these approaches have very logical reasoning. However, it can be frustrating. One book says to spend six months plotting before you even start chapter one. Another book says just write. Yet another book says to make rough sketches of where you’re going. Et cetera, et cetera. It is easy to get swept into trying the dozens of methods and ending up as a big, hot writer’s mess, still with nothing to speak for all of our hard work. Am I the only one who has seen that frustration? What do we do to get out of it? (I shall refrain from pointing up top again)
I can only speak for myself, but something pretty neat has happened in the past year, as I’ve completed three novellas. As I’ve gone from idea to rough draft to publication (or soon-to-be publication for novella #3), I’ve noticed something about myself: I’m a “layer” writer. First, I write down the general story (the basic plot, telling the story). Usually, there are some very strong, key elements missing in that first draft (like Edward’s letter in “Journey to Love” and Belle’s awful sneaking habits in “Befriending the Beast”). But so far, I haven’t been able to discover those missing elements until I’ve actually written something (so, there goes the super-plotting for me; it bogs me down and snubs out my creativity). For all three novellas, I’ve had to write my first draft then sit back and do some planning—sometimes, serious planning (the biggest changes has been in “The Secret Slipper” where I had almost completely rewrite half of the story). The first time this happened, it felt like I was thrown behind schedule. I was ready to be done, yet here I was, making some pretty major changes. Fast-forward to now, and I’ve come to expect it. My first draft will be missing those important themes and clinchers, which the rewrite will improve. It’s just the way I write (might I add that I hope that someday, my brain will catch up and fill in those gaps for the rough draft?).
Another thing I’ve noticed as I’ve written is my writing weaknesses. I’d have to say that number one in my weakness list is probably description (anyone else there?). My beta-readers often come back with, “How did she feel? What did he look like? Where are they?” Whoopsie! However, if I worry about this in my rough-draft, I get so hung up on the description that my story begins to lose its flavor. So, I don’t worry about in the rough draft. I might not even worry about it too much in the rewrite. But, at some point, I will do a thorough run-over my manuscript and think about my story—through the eyes of the viewer. If I need an extra bit of help (which, I usually do), I’ll ask my draft-readers to specifically point out places they thought needed an extra boost.
All of this to say, I’ve discovered that cramming myself into someone else’s mold just doesn’t work. Sure, we can get ideas from others’ methods. We just can’t use them as our law (unless, by some chance, our writing style and method is the identical twin to someone else’s). We have to learn what works for us, what doesn’t work for us, and embrace our own, unique writing style and methods.
What about you? How would you describe yourself as a writer? Have you learned your writing method yet? I’d love to hear how you write!

Scripture Graphics #31

Genesis 22:7-8 – “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. “
This is such a beautiful picture of our salvation. Sin must be paid for, a sacrifice must be made. However, instead of requiring our lives to pay for our sin, Jesus Christ came to provide Himself for our substitute. Just like Isaac went free while the lamb was sacrificed, so we can be free because of Jesus’ sacrifice. What if Abraham had said, “No, I won’t receive that ram as a substitute?” It would be absurd. So it is when one reject Christ’s substitution.

When was the last time we gave thought to walking worthy of God’s calling? When did we last think about lowliness? Meekness? Long-suffering? Forbearance? Endeavoring to keep unity?

How are we applying this list to our relationship with church members? With family members? With friends?

For some reason, I always remembered these verses as separate — the subject of not being tossed about, and the subject of speaking truth in love. But, they are connected (and are part of a longer passage that is good to read as a whole).
Before we can speak the truth in love, we must grow in God’s Word ourselves so that we are not tossed about with various doctrines contrary to God’s Word. As previous verses imply, part of our responsibility in this is to be under the pastor God has given us (verses 11-14). As other verses in Scripture teach, we are also to study God’s Word for ourselves.
As a new year dawns, what better time to make a commitment for two things? 1) Being faithful in church (not just going, but listening and learning). 2) Being faithful to *daily* read and study God’s Word.

What have you read from God’s Word this week? Any special verses you’re clinging to?

First Line Fridays | 3.17.2017

*rubs hands together* Now for my current top favorite author! I’m featuring the first book of hers that I read. Since then, I’ve read four others. 😉 She knows how to write an excellent book!

Temptation sat before her, compelling as the sea. Gleaming silver, green leather, the nearly silent rumble of the engine…
(from The Lose Heiress by Roseanna M. White)

See my review of it here.

And now… share your first line for today!!

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Rachel – Bookworm Mama
Lauraine – Lauraine’s Notes
Andi – Radiant Light
Robin – Robin’s Nest
Kathleen – Kathleen Denly

God Loves Mommy and Me | Book Review

By Bonnie Rickner Jenson; Illustrated by Laura Watkins

My Review:
This book. I am not sure how to write a cohesive review of it, because it is just too super cute! It is a children’s board book, full of colorful, soft illustrations and beautiful truths. The words to the book explore the different ways that God loves and provides for both “Mommy and me.” It gave a glimpse into the things that mothers and children do together from snuggles to playtime. This book just made me smile when I saw the cover. I absolutely adore the artwork in this book. Not too bold or bright, but cheerful and pleasant. That is probably why I loved it so much! What you see on the cover is the beautiful type of art you get inside. This is just the sort of book that I would read to my children, if the Lord blesses me with them. 

*I received this book from BookLook Bloggers and happily provided my review*

Book Description
God loves Mommy and me, He knows we love Him too, When we pray we always say, “You’re so good, God—thank You!”

Snuggle in cozy-close with a sweet reminder of God’s love for mommies and their little ones. Celebrating loving mothers, precious children, and the God who loves them all, God Loves Mommy and Me will remind parents and little ones of how much they are loved.

Purchase the book here.